They say that children should start to show a preference for handedness by the age of 18 months.  So far, at 3.5 years, I still have no clearer idea of which hand N will end up using full time

Both my brother and I are left handed, with right handed parents (that’s only a 2% chance), so it must have skipped a generation as our maternal grandfather was a lefty.  Our aunt started off as a lefty and then got it drummed out of her at school.  Luckily we didn’t find it much of an issue at school.

They say left handers have it hard, but apart from struggling with being advised to use left handed pens and scissor (nope, can’t use either of them!), writing was never an issue.  I did have to teach myself calligraphy with my right hand as I couldn’t use a left handed pen for it.  But the pair of us are quite handy with either hand, my brother’s almost ambidextrous as it depends what sport he’s doing as to whether he uses left or right hand.  We could both beat our mum at swingball using our right  hands!

Sports lessons could be a bit antisocial – athletics for example, where you’d all be stood in a line facing one direction ready to throw a javelin….and then I’d be on the end facing the other direction.  But aside from those minor issues, I think it’s pretty cool being a left hander.

They say around 10% of people are left handed, but I’ve sat in meetings at previous jobs where over half the room of market researchers or marketers are left handed.  So I think there’s a lot more than we think nowadays.  Maybe this is borne out by the fact that women giving birth after 40 years old, are 128% more likely to give birth to a left hander.  Weird fact, when you’d think it’d be genetic.

And within sports and music, there seems to be a higher than average proportion of left handers especially tennis.  So much for being ‘cack-handed’ as my OH says.  Seems to back up the fact that both my brother and I were pretty efficient racquet sports players.

With N, he’s still using both hands for different purposes, so his true handedness is still a bit of a mystery.

toddler playing with rainbow ribbons

Using a knife and fork, he’ll use it the left handed way which makes sense as he prefers to use only a spoon, knife or fork singly in his right hand.  (This is why I think it makes more sense for me to use a knife and fork right-handed, so I don’t have to switch my fork to my left hand if using it on it’s own).  But he will still draw or write with his left hand as well.

Kicking a ball will depend, and he’ll walk up and downstairs with different legs leading each time.  Throwing is right handed, and he prefers putting a right shoe on first if given the choice.  Maybe I’m comparing him to me, and I’m more right oriented than I think?

It would be quite handy (ha ha) if he was ambidextrous.  I used to find it handy on the rounders pitch, being able to switch hand when batting and annoying the fielders who would already have moved position to the opposite site to usual.

toddler playing with magnetic letters on white board

Here’s some interesting left-handed facts:

  1. Left handers day on 13th August has been going since 1996.
  2. Left handers tend to perform better with their right hand, than right handers with their left.
  3. While most right handers are left brain dominant using that for language, some lefthanders have that reversed, and many others have more even language skills distributed across both hemispheres.  This means more flexibility in randomised thoughts and less specific to one side of the brain or another…maybe why a disproportionate 20% of Mensa members are left handed?  It can also help in stroke rehabilitation with right handers who suffer strokes on their left side can take longer to recover than left handers with the same stroke pattern..

Are you a left hander?  And your children?  How have they found learning to write once they started school?

6 Comments

  1. Monkey and I are both left handed. My parents and brother are right handed, but my Auntie and Uncle are both lefties.
    I am the most leftie out of all of us, I find it difficult to do anything with my right hand, and always lead with my right foot. Using scissors has always been a nightmare (leftie ones didn’t exist when I was small) and can you imagine having to use a fountain pen at school with normal nibs.

    Luckily the world has moved on from when my PE teacher pretty much refused to teach me tennis as I played with the wrong hand.

    Monkey can use right handed scissors with his right hand which amazes me. I can’t even figure out how to hold scissors on that hand.

    I love that Monkey is a leftie too, and that there are so many more of us around these days. The resources are freely available and schools are more set up for working with lefties. My best friend was forced to write with her right hand – awful.

    • I used to write left handed with a right handed cartridge pen. The only issue was if it was a cartography/slanted angle thing. Oddly, I didn’t realise that the reason they do left handed scissors is so you can see the guidelines the correct side. Now I know why I always cut outside the line (although I can’t use left handed scissors – they just don’t cut for me!). I remember there used to be a left handed shop in Soho, and my mum once tried to find it for me because I wanted to see it…we couldn’t find it amongst all the sex shops!

  2. I am a lefty but am pretty ambidextrous tbh but my OH is a righty, very righty. Big dude is using his right hand now but still switches but Small is still very flexible and I still have hope that he might be a lefty like me.

    • So handy being ambidextrous – my brother is almost, as he switches depending on over/underarm throws and sports type. I’m more lefty – about 95% according to a quiz on it! Although I’m not sure practically I am that much

  3. Lisa Wilkinson

    My husband and I are both left-handed so we really hope our little girl will be too. She’s currently 14 months and is doing everything with her left-hand so fingers crossed it’ll stay that way. Happy left-handed day to my fellow Southpaws 🙂

    • Should stand a good chance with 2 lefty parents. Would like N to be, but not sure he will by the time he’s writing properly

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